130. I like to hike with boys named Mike who ride on bikes

September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Looking over the Hollywood Hills in California


I’m procrastinating. Which means I’m in the mood for haiku which are admittedly pretty terrible :)


I like to hike with

boys named Mike who ride on bikes

and who study Psych.


Yoga I practice

Yoda I don’t understand.

Conjoined twins they are.


Sometimes these cells are

Misaligned with the brain and

Pull towards unknown.


Caffeine I consume –

Contemporary crazy,

Temporary time


Fa la la la la –

Haiku versus interview.



The day comes to fly –

fall forward and flip over to

Wet moss oblivion.


Hello How are You

is difficult to utter

around you.  Dammit.


Hokay I am done

Being a ridiculous.

Prep for life now please.

Street art in Runyon Canyon, California

Street art on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

Last but not least, please help me prepare for my interview by filling out this one-question survey (click for link)!  I really appreciate your input :)

Adios amigos!



120. Can you imagine doing this for a living?

August 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

Guards at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan.

No movement.  Not even an eye-blink.

But if you watch closely you see the inevitable sway of breath.

118. Taroko-a-go-go

August 4, 2011 § 4 Comments

On my second day in Taiwan, I visited Taroko National Park, located near the city of Hualien and full of gorgeous gorges and beautifully powerful mountains and fine-tuned natural art and soulfully deep rivers and breezy quietly fresh caves.  I was so happy that my whole body was singing for joy.  I didn’t know that was even capable of happening.  Seriously.  The more I spend time in nature, the more I realize how much I am connected with it and adore it and am energized by it.

So much better than Disneyland.

…and take a look at this ridiculous pair of trees!  The skinnier one on the left completely wrapped itself all over and around the thicker one.  Is this what love is?  lol.  Click image to enlarge.

* * * * *

Ended the day with a beautiful bicycle ride along the beach of Taiwan’s eastern coast.

And uh…this is kind of embarrassing but I’ve had the following dinner for two days in a row now: a microwavable boxed meal of rice, chicken, tofu, egg, and pork from 7-11.  Honestly though, I think I enjoy it so much because it offers a kimchi-like spicy cabbage substance. I guess I need some time to wean myself off of Korean food…

Boxed Taiwanese meal from 7-11

And this is for you JShay: Hualien mua-gee!  Commonly known as ‘mochi’ to westerners, it is a soft and glutinous rice ball filled with deliciousness.  It’s like an Asian version of the Dunkin Donuts munchkin with filling.  I purchased two varieties: (1) sesame-filled and (2) red bean-filled.  For your viewing pleasure:

Hualien Mochi. Yums.

Another thing I love about Taiwan: endless varieties of bottled unsweetened teas.  YUM.

Bottles of unsweetened tea galore!

…that being said, I am also obsessed with the slightly sweeter milk tea here.

And, I’m a sucker for odd design so here’s some bottled coffee that looks like shampoo:

Post-meal beverage or hair product?

* * * * *

On a somewhat unrelated note…as predicted before (click here for link), I got past the initial screening for the latest job I applied for.  I have been working on the secondary application and am waiting to confirm a phone interview.  Yay?  Yikes?  I don’t know, no comment.  I’m trying not to be happy because I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.  Or is it eggs?

via animals.desktopnexus.com

* * * * *

Anyways, back to physical location.  Tomorrow I’ll be taking a 5-hour train to Kaohsiung, a city on the southern tip of Taiwan.  For the following couple of days I’ll be participating in a seminar on a mountaintop temple – internet availability is questionable so it might be a couple days until the next post.

Enjoy your today and have a pleasant tomorrow!


92. let’s be friends and not waste time together

May 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Celebrating Buddha’s birthday

So. I’ve been quite social these days. This is quite odd for me because I’m usually the type of person who would prefer to sit alone in her room and do one of the following: (1) stare at the wall, (2) stare at the ceiling, (3) stare at a book, (4) stare at a computer screen, (5) stare at her uneven nails – and once in a while step outside to stare at the sky.

However, lately I’ve been uncharacteristically inclined to pursue social interaction in favor of my usual day-to-day sit-stare-think. I’m actively seeking out playdates with people, and accepting invitations to selected outings.

Why is this happening to me? After a prolonged period of preferred solitude, why do I enjoy the presence of people?

Well, I think it’s because I’m learning how to spend quality time.  With quality people.

In the past, I had the mainstream-Americanized-big-city notion that “going out” and “having fun” must involve costuming oneself in showy outfits, getting exuberantly drunk, and taking lots of photographs to prove that one indeed was enjoying life. Having fun meant taking pictures in revealing outfits with the “cool people.” Your capacity to enjoy life was a function of the best “OMG remember when I got so wasted and did XYZ” you had to offer.

But in actuality, getting dressed up in clothes I wasn’t comfortable in and drinking so much I couldn’t remember half the night was not that fun. Sure, it offers moments of hilarity and amusement as you play the “So, what did I do last night?” game with your friends, but what is it worth when you were so busy feeling uncomfortable or drunk that the moments just pass you by without notice?

These days, “hanging out” has taken on a completely different meaning. “Hanging out” includes listening to a friend’s PhD dissertation presentation inside a donut shop (T-type calcium channels FTW!), sitting around a bunch of home-sliced apples and laughing at our ridiculous tendencies, standing along the seaside on a rainy day and climbing rocks as the wind trails against our bodies, sharing a cupcake that apparently tastes like a bunny, watching my friends comfortably enjoy a meal or a shot of freshly-made wine provided by my parents, zoning in and out of sleepiness in a car, exploring and sharing our thoughts as we weave through art galleries, and breathing in fresh mountain air while walking alongside giant monuments of brightly effervescent trees.

I so enjoy myself these days. Sans slutty clothes, sans excessive alcohol, sans photographs to prove to others I was there.

…Obviously that last one is a lie. Of course I took photos. Here are my most recent ones from a road trip to northern Jeolla province in Korea:

But in all seriousness – wow. People are great sometimes. More specifically, what I mean to say is this: quality people are great during quality times. During these times, with these people — the whole experience just uplifts you. Subconsciously or consciously, you ride through their trails of insight and experience, and you learn something unknowable. Something precious. And you continue on – a human being of slightly better quality than you were before.

Good people outshine grey weather


83. Thai temple tops

May 6, 2011 § 7 Comments

Okay. Last Thailand post.  Truly.

Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

And in other news…

1. I had wayyyyyyyyy too much caffeine today.  I like, cannot function properly right now.  My attention is simultaneously EVERYWHERE and NOWHERE.  This sucks.

2. I had a really nice lunch with a new friend today.  It made me very happy because he is a good conversationalist and has lots of stories and also thinks a lot and has goals in life.  He is also a good listener which is rare and also chooses his words with purpose which makes me happy.  And the restaurant was nice.  Also the food was good (I think. I can’t remember the taste very much because I was too focused on conversing).   Also, I’m a horrible foodie because I am not culturally refined enough.

3. I’m recently becoming aware of something. Three people I’ve recently been spending some time with have expressed similar reactions to the manner with which I converse: when they talk to me they feel like they are being slightly interrogated/they feel like I am leading them into some kind of logical booby trap so they must be cautious when they talk to me/their brain hurts.  I think this is kind of amusing because that is not my intention at all but that is how they perceive me.  This also concerns me – do people want to be friends with someone who makes their brain hurt?!?! Yikes.

4.  Also today.  I had a giant revelation.  But it’s personal.  So there.  Wow this is one of the few times where I feel like something is too personal for the blog!!  I guess I do have boundaries!

5.  Um…I bought 5 books for 500 KRW (~$.0.50) each.  Nice.  When am I going to read all of them?  Why are there so many books to read in life?  Agh.

6.  I don’t know what else.  My head hurts.

7.  Oh. I received two nice emails today.  They made me happy because they were quite insightful.  I truly appreciate insightfulness.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Don’t drink too much caffeine.  Or alcohol.  ITS NOT WORTH IT.

75. goodbye thailand ill miss you

April 20, 2011 § 8 Comments

Long-distance bus in Thailand

Life is a giant puzzle sometimes.  The more I participate, the more material I have to write about and photograph, but the less time I have to contemplate and extract meaningful messages and images.  And on the flip side, the more I observe and contemplate, the more meaningful the insights are but the less I end up experiencing and enjoying life.

So why am I telling you that?

There’s really no good reason in particular.  That was just my introduction to this entry which will feautre bullet-point updates about my last week in Thailand.

However, these quick updates concern me sometimes because they feel somewhat shallow relative to the deeper insights in my mind.  I’ve extracted very fulfilling lessons and experiences, but I have yet to consciously sift through them all in order to construct meaningful messages.  There are so many and I don’t know where to start.

Another thing that troubles and amazes me — the more I reflect upon things, the more I realize that the depth of our minds is ridiculously unknown to us.  We are so unaware of the variety or non-variety of processing we undergo every single day.

Lastly, another thing that prevents us from knowing ourselves is that we have these things called life and time that consistently push us forward.  They make it quite difficult to reflect upon life and self because days are busy and there are dishes that need to be washed and spreadsheets to be reviewed and friends to enjoy meals with.

Okay.  So I ventured into lala land for a bit and got a little off topic there.  Oops :)

Here are the goods, in semi-chronological order:

-Well, firstly, here’s a picture of my certificate:

Like I mentioned before, I am extremely proud of my certificate and what it represents to me.  For the first time in my life, I chose and completed something significant based off of my own interests and happiness and not due to perceived parental or societal expectations.  And that whole month opened my heart up in endless ways.  I really don’t know how to express this in words without sounding like a bad commercial for engagement rings.

At the closing ceremony, E and A from Germany sang a farewell song.  Sitting to the right are our five amazing instructors.  Clearly, instructor M (far right) is enjoying himself.  And yes, that is a heart made of flower petals in the middle of the floor.

-After the training, a couple of trainees and I went into the heart of the city to rest and relax for a couple days.  It was quite interesting because after the glow of yoga training, the lovey-dovey vibes start to fade and you can observe people’s underlying personalities starting to rise.  It’s like that point in a relationship when you realize your partner doesn’t poo out gold and diamonds and in fact that he/she is a human being with human tendencies.

-With that being said though, I shared some lovely times with the trainees in random Thai bars and clubs and eateries.  Good conversations and laughs and dancing make for good friends :)

Say hello to S and her demolished banana smoothie.  She tells me she wants to make a baby as soon as she gets back home.  That last sentence is not a joke. She also does not own a television set or have a Facebook account. 

-After my time in Chiang Mai city I took a 4-hour bus ride weaving in and out the mountainside to a small mountaintop village called Pai.  Beautiful mountains set amongst clouds, clean air, lots of hippies, plenty of lost souls.  I stayed at a great resort/farm place that housed three puppy dogs and had amazing breakfast.

The farm/resort I stayed at in Pai. So peaceful. I love.

Homemade muesli with yogurt and fruit.Vanilla pancake with iced tea and pineapple smoothie.  Made with love and served with a flower. 

-At the farm I met someone like me.  She’s a girl (I’m a female). She was born in Korea (me too). She immigrated to the States at a young age (same here).  She grew up in California (yep).  She is now a yoga instructor (just finished my training).  Ummm…coincidence?  Fate? ****A SIGN????*** Perhaps.  Perhaps not. But how many first generation Korean-American twenty-something female yoga instructors do you meet in a tiny village on top of a mountain?  Hmm I think Malcolm Gladwell could answer this question brilliantly.

-Also I was fortunate enough to meet E, a sharp ex-businessman who worked in finance and sales before realizing he didn’t like where his life was headed (which was en route to a comfortable millionaire salary in 5-10 years) and consequently decided to travel and explore.  After seven years of traveling throughout Asia and gathering lots of interesting stories and people, he is slowly transitioning back into the working world in Bangkok.  He took me around on his motorbike for two days and showed me around all the major and minor paths around Pai.  I really like motorbike rides.

In Pai I hitched many motorbike rides.  Sometimes when I walk, random local Thais would stop and offer me a ride like this kind little lady here.

Rest stop on a mountainside during a ride with E

-During one of our rides I witnessed my first real live bar fight in a village roadside bar.  I was enjoying my beer and the off-tune Thai karaoke music when I hear mass shouting and movement.  A bottle crashes and a tall strong man is grabbing the back of his head as blood seeps out.  You can see his anger bubbling over — you know that point when that animal side of a man kicks in and his eyes just glaze over with rage?  It’s not a pretty sight.  He runs to the back alley and returns, clutching a giant steel rod in his right hand and ready to do who-knows-what.  Thankfully, the offending group of people were smart enough to quickly hop on their truck and drive off.  I don’t understand the anger of men sometimes.  Women get angry too, but men seem to become inexplicably violent more easily.

Roadside bar in a remote village.  These boys were milking the mike.

This guy followed me around and insisted on getting his photo taken.  I like the dog.

-After a couple of nights, three yoga trainees soon came up to Pai as well and we shared a fine time together.  One of them sang with the live band at the small bar we visited.  One rented a motorbike and explored the town.  One kept on hugging and touching me because she knows unwarranted physical contact makes me feel uncomfortable.

Chill nights, live music, outdoor vibes. 

-Following my time in Pai, I headed to Chiang Mai city for my first experience with Couchsurfing (basic concept: sleep on other people’s couches and make friends).  I was supposed to stay there three nights but ended up staying for two.  This is one of those experiences that is a whole separate story/entry in itself.  All I will say for now is that I’m very happy I’m me, people are fascinating, and I now know my dad loves me.  If you ever plan to travel alone, one piece of advice: please know yourself to some level before doing so.

-This really really old man (like grandpa status) tried to get me to sleep with him while touting his ability to give young Korean women three orgasms in one night.  I politely declined.

-I spent my last night in Chiang Mai by myself in a hotel.  The hotel was familiarly western, but it seriously lacked the attention to detail I loved so much about the independent resorts/hotels in Pai and Hiroshima.  Comfortable bed though.

-Right before leaving for the airport, I treated myself with a mani/pedi, massages, and a delicious lunch.  All for less than $10.  The relative cost of luxury living in Thailand is amazing.

-You know what I think every time after I get a mani/pedi though?  Why in the world did I just pay someone to paint my nails?!?  Although I don’t get my nails done often, every time I do, I end up in disbelief at the fact that I actually paid someone money to soak my hands in warm water and then swipe some color on my nails, something I could easily get done myself in a shorter amount of time.  I feel jipped every time I get my nails done, but I continue to give it a shot because so many people seem to like them.  But I never feel any inherent pleasure with a mani/pedi.  I guess it’s just not my thing.  I guess that will the last mani/pedi I myself pay for.

-Anyways.  After the disappointing mani/pedi session I had an amazing massage.  I love massages.  Especially when the hands are strong and experienced.

-And now I’m back in Korea.  And happily so.  My travel bug is settling — my desire to run away and wander is decreasing.  Methinks I’m becoming ready to transition into my next stage of development.

-Hm. Do you people even read all this?  This entry is quite long.  Too long for my personal taste, but I guess that’s what happens when you take a weeklong break.  Regardless, if you’ve made it this far I want to thank you for joining me on my travels and my observations/happenings.  Tune in next time for more interesting snippets of life and have a wonderful day :)

Doggy says goodbye

72. busy busy busy

April 4, 2011 § 6 Comments

As the title suggests, life has been quite busy.

But I wake up everyday feeling grateful and happy :)

Happy feet in Thailand

…unfortunately, all good things come to an end.  We’ve started our last week of training and the unbelievable speed with which the time has passed by leaves me at a loss for words. I don’t have enough time, internet connectivity or brain coherency to share the richness of all my experiences right now so here are some brief updates.


1. During these past three weeks I’ve taken over 24 GB worth of photos (approximately 2,000 high resolution images).  Yeah, the stuff I post on this blog is the tippy top of the iceberg.

Meet C, a flexible and chill Filipina-Canadian with beautiful skin.  Dedicated and determined to learn and live.  Stepped on giant wasp and recovered gracefully.

2. i just want to eat some chicken.

3. I’ve rediscovered a passion for bicycling.  Ohmygosh I cannot explain in words how lovely it is to ride in the open air in the countryside right before the sun rises and you feel the quiet wind across your face and your loose flung t-shirt gently brushing against your skin.  and perhaps a neighborhood dog will run by your side for a minute or two.

Dear morning light and nature: I love you.

4. I’ve been working on a particularly difficult pose — the headstand.  It’s kind of one of the staple postures of yoga and looks like this:

I can’t get my feet off the floor by myself and I require a spotter to help me reach the posture.  As Mark, the British instructor who is great at being simultaneously sarcastic and serious (much to the confusion of clueless people like me), was helping me get into the pose, we had an exchange that I can’t get out of my head

Me, all puffy and frustrated from multiple failed attempts: Why can’t I do it?  Is it a strength thing?  Do I need more shoulder muscles?

Mark pauses, looks at me, then looks up for a moment of quick contemplation and replies with his clean cut British voice: No, it’s a confidence thing.

I found myself getting quite defensive when he said that.  And I don’t know why, because there are areas in my life in which I have confidence about (or at least I think I do, and I’ve been told that I do by outside observers and friends)…and yet something about his comment bothers me.  And I still can’t do the pose by myself.  >.<  I’ll keep you guys updated if anything changes.

This is instructor Mark.  His serious tone of voice and his sarcastic tone of voice are impossible to distinguish.  This creates much confusion within me.

5. Our certification exam consist of two parts: (1) a practicum in which we plan and lead a 90-minute class and (2) a written examination covering theory, philosophy, and anatomy.

Poseposeposeposepose. I did not expect this much note-taking to be a part of this process.

  • We did a practice run of our 90-minute class and mine went pretty well until the last 30 minutes – I realized my closing sequence was a bit short so I ended up giving her a long massage during her shovasana to fill the time (shovasana = final resting position in which the student lays down in a state of semi-sleep).  My student enjoyed it but apparently I let her rest for too long.  Oops

If all else fails, put your students to sleep and give it a fancy named like ‘shovasana’

  • As for the written exam…hmm…I’m not sure if it is overconfidence or underpreparedness (perhaps both), but I haven’t given it much thought.  I hope I’m not burning my own tail with this attitude.

Knees and hips don’t lie

6. I’ve stopped following the world news.  Oblivion really is bliss because it has been wonderful.

7. I received an amazing Thai massage from this tiny enthusiastic lady with thumbs of steel and the sensitivity of a feather.  It was almost life-changing.  She also gave me a ride home on the back of her motorbike which was nice.

8. Okay, so not everything is all butterflies and rainbows. I think I’m overextending my body…my knee and hip joints have been feeling painfully strained these past couple of days and this morning I felt dizzy and cold even though it was above 90 degrees today.  And I’m still a “jobless recent college graduate without clear goals.”  Interestingly enough though, that last statement doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

9. Um….here’s a picture of a crying baby who didn’t want her hair tied:

10. And…one more introduction:

Say hello to J, the only male in our training.  Computer-technician-turned-massage-therapist.  Works in the US, vacations in Thailand.  Not a big fan of girl talk.  Has a frisbee yay.

11. And…here’s a pair of kitty cats living the good life:

Purrrfection (sorry guys, I couldn’t help myself with that one)

…you know, those cats look like they’re floating or dancing in the air. Alternatively, the one on the right is inside a womb on the verge of being awakened by orange kitty cat who has been in search of a fellow kitty cat friend/lover.

Uhm. Okay.  Clearly that last sentence indicates my brain has gone haywire and that it is time for me to join the kitties in lalaland.  Good night people.  I’m going to pass out and dream about eating chicken.

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